Problem-solving and STEM support outside of school
According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, an estimated 2.4 million STEM jobs are unfilled in 2018. With high earning potential and a solid demand, careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are an important avenue to explore.
Here are five ways you can help encourage your child to participate in activities that support STEM or build important job skills like problem-solving.
- Try board games.
- Games like chess, Settlers of Catan, Scotland Yard, and Pandemic work on strategy and problem-solving skills (skills that employers are looking for). If you don’t have many games at home or want to find new ones, you can visit your local library, game store, or gaming cafe to try out a variety of games.
- Windsor: Brimstone Games, Wizards of Walkerville, Windsor Sandwich Shop
- London: Cardboard Cafe, L.A. Mood Comics & Games, The Game Chamber
- Kitchener-Waterloo: Adventurers Guild Cafe, Crossroads Board Game Cafe, Games on Tap Cafe
- Toronto: For The Win Board Game Cafe & Bar, Snakes & Lattes, Bampot Bohemian House Of Tea And Board Games
- Ottawa: The Loft Board Game Lounge, Level One Game Pub, Hideaway Adventure House
- Visit a library.
- Not only do modern-day libraries have technology within their branches, many offer clubs and activities surrounding STEM or have specific branches designated as tech hubs. This means your teen can access special technology like 3D printers, cameras, and robots for FREE! Contact your local branch to find out what programs are available in your area.
- Attempt an escape room.
- Employers want employees who are innovative and analytical with strong communication and problem-solving skills. What better way to hone some of these skills than to explore an escape room with your family? An escape room is a fictional location where you are “trapped” and your team needs to strategically solve puzzles and riddles to escape before time runs out.
- Windsor: APE Escape Windsor, Exodus Windsor, Hidden Trail, Enigma
- London: Trapdoor London, Escape Canada, Exodus London, Escapology
- Kitchener-Waterloo: Adventure Rooms, The Ultimate Escape, Complex Rooms
- Toronto: Mysterious Minds, The Imaginarium, Looking Glass Adventures, Escape Games
- Ottawa: Jigsaw, Escape Manor, Room Escape, A/maze
- Work on robot, RC, drone or model kits.
- Building from a kit works on engineering, fine motor skills, and spatial awareness. When the kit includes movement, your child will be learning about mechanics and technology as well. You can build a kit at home or look for a group in your community that works on larger projects like First Robotics (there are 250 FRC teams in Canada…that’s over 7,500 teens!).
- Plan day trips that combine learning with fun and interaction.
- Museums and science centres allow visitors to explore on their own and often include hands-on activities to make learning more engaging. If your child has expressed an interest in a certain career, plan a day trip that allows them to explore more in that field.
- Places to try: Ontario Science Centre (Toronto), Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), Proxima Command (Toronto), Canada Science & Technology Museum (Ottawa), Canada Space & Aviation Museum (Ottawa), uFly Simulator (Mississauga), Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (Windsor), Stones & Bones Museum (Sarnia), Michigan Science Center (Detroit), Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village (Dearborn, Michigan)